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Five Reasons Not to Buy a New PC

We recently ran a poll on Facebook: What was the last PC-related purchase you made? A full 24% of respondents said they bought an entire new desktop or laptop PC. Here are five reasons why you might want to wait on that new PC purchase for awhile.

Illustration: Gordon McAlpin

Your current PC can run better … if you let it

Why get a new PC at all, if you can optimize your old one? Check out our list of nine steps for making your PC run like new. Specifically, controlling what programs run at startup, defragmenting your hard drive, and uninstalling unneeded programs are three big ways to keep your existing PC going much longer.

Cleaning the inside of your existing PC using compressed air can lead to reduced temperatures and much longer life. And compressed air canisters are much less expensive than new PCs!

Tumbling cost of solid state drives

Solid state drives are used for storage, just like hard drives, except they store content on chips rather than metal discs. This has the advantage of much faster speeds and greater reliability. The disadvantage is that solid state drives cost much more than hard drives for the same amount of space. This is changing, though, as the latest solid state drives are only about $1.20 to $1.70 per gigabyte, about ten times more than hard drives. The disparity used to be far greater.

An SSD is a great place to put a Windows operating system, leaving a larger hard drive for storage and backup. That way, you’ll get the blazing speed of an SSD when Windows needs it, but the greater space of a traditional hard drive for your video files and such. Instead of getting a whole new machine, an SSD might be what you need.

The imminent release of Windows 8

If you buy a new PC now, it’ll come with Windows 7. There’s not even a free upgrade offer to Windows 8 yet. Why not wait until later this year and pick up a PC that comes with the very newest Windows OS, instead of paying hundreds as a separate purchase? It’s not like the cost of Windows is built in to the cost of the machine, as manufacturers pay Microsoft much less per copy of Windows than you or I.

Also, PCs bought with Windows 8 in late 2012 are more likely to be optimized specifically to work with it. You never know if a PC bought now will even handle Windows 8 correctly, as the final recommended system specifications have not been published.

New Wi-Fi standard around the corner

Laptops purchased now will support the Wireless-N standard. It’s fast, but if you have an apartment full of Wi-Fi devices, in an apartment complex full of Wi-Fi devices, you’re going to experience connection, lag and transfer issues. The newest AC standard not only uses the 5 Ghz range, away from typical wireless, it also has far greater capability for streaming large files simultaneously. You’ll start seeing devices with Wireless-AC built in very soon.

The coming of Ivy Bridge

Ivy Bridge is a newer Intel architecture that’s just starting to roll out in 2012. It promises double-digit increases in CPU performance, and more importantly, up to 50% improvement in graphics. Laptops with integrated Intel graphics have historically not been able to keep up in the graphics department. That’s all changing later in 2012. If you want a machine that can keep up, you may want to wait until Intel rolls out Ivy Bridge.

Bottom Line

All the above means that we’re in kind of a transition period for PCs. Everything is changing in the very near future, so while you’re waiting for the dust to settle, get more out of your existing computer and put off that upgrade. That philosophy is really what we at ReviverSoft are all about.

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